The lemon addiction is real guys. I’m putting it in/over everything at the moment – I’ve even taken to squeezing fresh lemon over my breakfast smoothie bowls! And of course, with my current baking obsession, lemon is heavily involved. I thought about making lemon and nut cookies, but to be honest, I thought you’d be a bit bored of seeing cookies at the moment, so I took a slightly different tack… biscuits! Or, to be precise: shortbread. Lemon and basil shortbread.
I’ve not made shortbread for years, literally. In fact, I think the one and only time I’ve made it myself was while I was at school in “Food Technology” – we all had to bake something in the class, and I wanted something easy so my mum recommended shortbread. It was easy – and delicious. I think I melted some chocolate to go with it, thinking back… and I remember not having much left to take home.
I always think those packets of shortbread make it look like a really tricky product to create at home. There’s often tartan involved, for some reason. Or a photograph of somewhere in the deep South-West… or maybe that’s just my warpped perception because it’s often the food that colleagues bring back from holiday.
But, the thing is… it’s really not that difficult. The hardest part is the patience required to chill the dough fully! And, it’s so easy to convert to a vegan recipe. It’s easier than chocolate chip cookies!
Lemon and basil shortbread: A flavour fusion
I’m really enjoying baking with fresh herbs at the moment – I’m finding they add a a subtle depth to my bakes that I never considered before. And so many pair brilliantly with lemon! When deciding what flavour of shortbread to make, I knew that I wanted:
- Something light and reminiscent of summer, similar to my lemon, peach and thyme muffins
- Something a bit different – cue basil
- Something temptingly moreish
And so I ended up with lemon (of course) and basil… and a slightly skeptical view of whether or not it was going to work, but it did.
Don’t skip the chill time
One mistake I made when first trialling this recipe was to skimp of the chill time. I’m a very impatient person, what can I say. However, when using dough that is not fully chilled you end up with a still sticky dough that can’t be sliced very easily, and flattens out more in the oven. If you use a fully chilled dough, it’s much more firm and sliceable, with far less spreading of the cookies during baking.
So: make a cup of tea and read a book (or whatever else you fancy… I also quite like to bake cupcakes or muffins in the mean time!)
Lemon & Basil Shortbread
Luci Rebecca, Made by Luci
- Prep: 1 hour
- Cook: 20 minutes
- Total: 1 hour, 20 minutes
- Yield 12 cookies
- Calories 121
- 60g caster sugar
- 2 tbsp chopped basil
- Zest of 1 lemon and 1 tsp lemon juice, divided
- 100g flour
- 50g cornflour
- 100g dairy free butter, chopped into small cubes
- 1/4 tsp lemon extract
- In a small bowl, mix together the chopped basil, lemon zest and sugar and set aside for 5 minutes (or you can mix it in right away, this just lets the flavours absorb into the sugar more)/
- In a larger mixing bowl, mix together the flours, add the sugar mixture and then cream with the butter, lemon juice and lemon extract.
- Roll into a cylindrical shape and wrap in clingfilm. Chill in the fridge for at least one hour, until it's very firm.
- Preheat the oven 180°C (fan). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Once the dough is firm, remove the clingfilm and, using a sharp knife, slice the dough into 12 circles.
- Place on the baking sheet and cook in the oven for 20 minutes, until they are just starting to turn golden at the edges.
- Leave on the baking tray for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.